Friday, September 9, 2016

The Day They Fell

On a clear and sunny Tuesday morning in September of 2001, the lives of all Americans changed forever. Most of us that are old enough to remember that fateful morning, we are still able to tell you where we were when the world changed.

My day began the way every other day began. My husband and I left for work. Our children were not feeling well and had stayed with my mother in law the night before. He headed one block from home to the water office where he was town utility manager and I left to head the 6 or so blocks to Dollar General, where I was manager. I always arrived about 30 minutes before the store opened to begin the preparation for the day. Our stock room did not have a radio, but there was one outside the door. As I awaited the arrival of my cashier, I went about business as usual. I placed the drawers in the registers and made sure my deposit was ready for the bank. I decided to fill a stock cart for myself to work on that morning as I did every morning. As I was filling it, I heard something that I thought said an airline had been hijacked. No, that is not possible in the United States. Suddenly, I think that I hear that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I immediately thought that I had heard wrong.

Shortly thereafter, my cashier arrived and I mentioned what I thought that I had heard. She had not heard of anything so I just thought that I had heard the radio wrong. The store opened at 9 and within a few minutes, we heard the confirmed report and the news stopped me in my tracks- a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.
I knew it was not an accident?   Could a plane accidentally fly into the Trade Center? Pilot Error? I don't think so. Ill pilot? Possibility, but my stomach dropped and my heart knew.

 Suddenly, we hear that the Second Tower has also been hit. Another plane ahs flown right into the tower. The news reporters are in disbelief and while trying to report the news are in tears.  I heard the words " our country is under attack". I hit my knees in the stock room and prayed for God's will to be done. For my family to be protected, for my country to be safe. I believe survivor mode hit, I knew I needed to reach the phone and call my husband and my kids. I spoke to my husband and he had heard the news. Being that he worked for a government agency, he was aware of the events and he was going into a serious work mode to protect the water that the town was provided. When I spoke to my mother in law, she was watching it on television. I told her to tell the girls that I loved them and to not allow them to spend the day watching what was happening.

While walking to the front of the store, I hear that a plane has flown into the Pentagon. Immediately, I wonder how can the safest place in the United States be hit? Who is capable of this kind of attack? How can this many planes be hijacked at once? So many questions and yet, so many fears and thoughts.

Once the cashier and I spoke, I left to go to the house to get my cell phone. I believe that my husband had asked me to do that. As I walked into the home, I had to turn on the television. I had to see for myself. I had to see it to believe it. I gathered my phone and a drink and headed to turn the television off when I was once again stopped dead in my tracks. 9:59 a.m.,the South Tower is literally cumpling before my very eyes.  Grief suddenly overwhelmed me and the tears began flowing. Tears that would just be the beginning of more to come that day. As I stood there in sheer disbelief, I realized that our country would never be the same! Our world had suddenly changed for ever!

How I drove back to work, I truly don't know. I walked in sobbing. My thoughts were simply "how could this happen?" As the cashier and the customer at the register looked up, all I could say was " it's gone". They did not know what had happened so I tried to tell them, but I was simply too shocked to speak. Fighting back the tears. I tried to convey what I had seen. Was it really true? Were my eyes simply playing tricks? Had the Pentagon truly been attacked? Could the Trade Center building collapse that easily? The lives that must have been lost? Was there any possibility that everyone had gotten out. No, a plane had flown into three different buildings and exploded on impact.

We begin to pay close attention to the radio. Our day was not going to be a normal work day. Would any day be normal again? I did not believe so. I spoke to my oldest daughter and she is scared, I comfort her and explain that New York is not close to us and that we are safe. Did I believe that? No, I was just trying to calm her. Was any of us safe? Were any buildings safe? No, we did not know if anyone else was planning to do anything else. Suddenly, the news that still chills me to the bone- the North Tower has collapsed! Dear God! I instantly began to pray again. I prayed for the lives lost, I prayed for those aboard the planes. I prayed for peace. Peace- how could I pray for that? I was not sure, but I did.

The remainder of the day was just a blur. A blur of customers speaking of things that they had seen and heard. Reports on the radio of people jumping from the buildings as they were burning. Reports of possible other targets. The plane that crashed in Pennsylvania that was possibly headed for the White House. The heroism of those aboard that plane. Learning that gas was rising greatly in price and many stations were out as people were filling up in sheer terror of what might become of the country. Wall Street and The World Trade Center was an area that basically controlled the money that the United States ran on. Would banks be closed? Would money be available? No one knew what these attacks would bring. No one knew how long the effects would be felt. Sheer panic was hitting and all Americans were in shock that these things had happened.

Within hours, we learned more about terrorists and the acts of terror than we ever needed to know. President Bush assured us that we as a nation would stand against terrorist and win. We learned of the evil that is within the world. We learned a name Bin Laden was an evil man that had orchestrated such an attack. I learned just how important my family was and I did not want to be apart. We drove to get the girls and I certainly enjoyed the hugs from them that evening as they were sweeter than before.

Where were you the day they fell? Do you remember how you felt? As the 15th anniversary approaches, it reminds me to pray. Pray for those that lost loved ones that day, pray for those that lost their lives that day, pray for peace. Pray for no one to ever witness such evil again.

Also, I recommend that you look at this video as well. I can't get it to show up like this but here is the link. 
Roger Mullins 9/11 Song

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